William Jefferson, the former nine-term congressman from Louisiana, was found guilty of 11 of 16 corruption charges on Wednesday by a federal jury.
The Jefferson case was most famous for the discovery of $90,000 of cash stuffed in his freezer. Prosecutors said Jefferson planned to use the cash for a bribe. Jefferson’s lawyers said the cash in the freezer proved the ex-lawmaker didn’t use the money as a bribe.
There was also a constitutional battle over the FBI’s raid of his Jefferson’s Congressional office. Ultimately, some of the information seized by the FBI was returned and not used as evidence.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors said that from 2000 to 2005, Mr. Jefferson sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a dozen companies involved in oil, communications, sugar and other businesses, often for projects in Africa. Mr. Jefferson used his position as a member of the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee to promote the companies’ ventures without disclosing his own financial stakes in the deals.
The jury deliberated five days before reaching its decision.
- Count 1 18 USC §371. Conspiracy to solicit bribes by a public official and deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud and violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to advance a telecommunications project sponsored by iGate Inc. of Louisville, Ky.
- Count 2 18 USC §371. Conspiracy to solicit bribes by a public official and deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to his efforts on behalf of Arkel Sugar, LETH Energy, TDC Overseas, Procura Financial Interests of South Africa and WorldSpace for projects that included a sugar refinery and fertilizer plant in Nigeria, development of marginal oil fields in Nigeria, the sale of garbage-to-energy incinerators in West African nations; the development of satellite educational programming in several West African nations; and a settlement of a dispute regarding oil development rights off the coast of Sao Tome & Principe in West Africa.
- Count 3 18 USC §201(b)(2)(A). Solicitation of bribes by a public official related to allegations that Jefferson sought payments from iGate Inc. to a firm controlled by his wife, Andrea, in return for his help securing telecommunications projects in Nigeria and Ghana.
- Count 4 18 USC §201(b)(2)(A). Solicitation of a bribe by a public official related to what the government contends was Jefferson demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting and agreeing to receive things of value from Lori Mody, the Virginia investor who wore a wire to record conversations with the then-congressman.
- Count 6 18 U.S.C. §1343 and §1346. Deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to a fax from Jefferson to Lori Mody establishing the percentages of ownership in Mody’s company to be given to Mody, Brett Pfeffer, iGate and a company controlled by the Jefferson family.
- Count 7 18 U.S.C. §1343 and §1346. Deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to a wire transfer of $59,300 fromMody’s bank account to an account held by the ANJ Group, headed by Jefferson’s wife, Andrea.
- Count 10 18 U.S.C. §1343 and §1346. Deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to a telephone call from Jefferson in Ghana to Vernon Jackson in Louisville, Ky., discussing the progress of meetings with Ghanaian officials.
- Count 12 18 U.S.C. §1957. Money laundering related to the transfer of a check for $25,015 written from ANJ payable to the Jefferson Committee.
- Count 13 18 U.S.C. §1957.Money laundering related to the wire transfer of $25,000 from ANJ to iGate.
- Count 14 18 U.S.C. §1957.Money laundering related to the transfer of a check for $25,000 from an ANJ account made payable to Andrea Jefferson and deposited to an account held by both Andrea and William Jefferson.
- Count 16 18 U.S.C. §1962(c). Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization, pattern of racketeering activity, related to what the government says was Jefferson’s use of his congressional office for illegal activities.
- Count 5 18 U.S.C. §1343 and §1346. Deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to credit card charges by Jefferson from his congressional office totaling $14,885.95 for travel from Washington to Lagos, Nigeria, with the “understanding” iGate would reimburse that charge.
- Count 8 18 U.S.C. §1343 and §1346. Deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to a fax from Jefferson to Mody attaching various documents, including a letter to then-Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar promoting a telecommunications project.
- Count 9 18 U.S.C. §1343 and §1346. Deprive citizens of honest services by wire fraud related to a fax from Jefferson to Mody with a copy of a letter from Jefferson to a high-ranking Ghanaian government official seeking a meeting.
- Count 11 15 U.S.C. §78dd-2(a). Violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related to Jefferson’s discussion with Mody about possibly bribing Nigerian Vice President Abubakar and other Nigerian officials. Charge includes transfer from Mody of $100,000 (in FBI money) that Jefferson said was intended as a bribe to Nigerian Vice President Abubakar. All but $10,000 was later found in Jefferson’s freezer.
- Count 15 18 U.S.C. § 15112(c)(1). Obstruction of justice related to Jefferson putting two iGate Inc. faxes into a briefcase while the FBI was searching his house on Aug. 3, 2005.
- Jefferson Charges and Verdicts (.pdf) from the Times Picayune
- Jefferson Convicted of Conspiracy to Violate the FCPA from The FCPA Blog
- Ex-Rep. Jefferson Convicted in Bribery Scheme by David Stout for The New York Times
- Jefferson Convicted in Bribery Scheme by Jerry Markon and Brigid Schulte for The Washington Post
- Jury Verdict Form (.pdf)
- Indictment in US v. William Jefferson (.pdf)- hosted on FindLaw